Saturday, September 23rd, 2017
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Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar, in office for ten months now, says he has streamlined the departments of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation. But the services the KMC has been able to provide to the inhabitants of the city are not much better than poor, sources at the KMC say. Absenteeism, corruption and bad performance of the departments are becoming hallmark of the KMC.

The sources, who asked not to be named, said the fire brigade, the veterinary department, and the running of charged parking and municipal services are among the most badly administrated departments. Mayor Waseem Akhtar is yet to take meaningful action against incompetent officials refusing to perform. During the meetings he holds, the mayor does issue warnings to officials heading these departments, the sources said. But he will do little against their reluctance to perform their duties, although they deserve disciplinary actions against them for their refusal to deliver.

In a meeting with KMC officials at his office on Wednesday, he expressed disappointment with the performance of recovery departments. He warned the department heads to improve their performance or be ready to be sacked. In his own words, "those who don't want to come to office on time and refuse to fulfill their responsibilities honestly, they should resign and go home." "It is the responsibility of departmental heads to make it sure that all his subordinates be present at their jobs on time."

And these empty threats and warnings come from a man who on assuming office as mayor had pledged to have all the garbage and filth removed from Karachi-within a hundred days of his taking office. The situation is dismal in KMC-run hospitals, which include the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. In HSC, which happens to be one of Karachi's top hospitals, doctors and paramedical staffs appear to be interested more in their salaries than in fulfilling their critical responsibilities, according to the sources.

"There are complaints that KMC officials (in the hospital) are indulging in bribe-taking and receive commissions from contractors. But the mayor has paid no heed to this issue," said one of them. If the mayor cannot maintain order within the KMC, they complain, Karachi's residents can hardly expect him to resolve the mounting civic problems of this metropolis of 15 million. Availability of clean drinking water, electricity, and removal of heaps of garbage in most areas is becoming an impossible dream for the population. Some background on the mayor: On November 16 last year, Waseem Akhar had been released from the Karachi Central Prison after an Anti-Terrorism Court granted him a bail in a case pertaining to providing terrorists with medical help against a surety bond of Rs 500,000.

The mayor received bails in all 39 cases. The MQM leader had been jailed on July 19, 2016, for a number of criminal cases, including his alleged involvement in the May 12, 2007, violence in the city, and facilitating MQM hate speeches.

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